Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics]

Paul D. Gottlieb: Recent scholarly articles on downzoning

Gottlieb, P.D., A. O’Donnell, T. Rudel, K. O’Neill, and M. McDermott. 2012. Determinants of local housing growth in a multi-jurisdictional region, along with a test for nonmarket zoning. Journal of Housing Economics 21: 296-309.

This study explores the effects of large-lot zoning and open space acquisition on the number of building permits issued across 83 municipalities in northern New Jersey. The study finds strong evidence of excess large lot zoning, leading to the suppression of short-term housing growth in communities that
specialize in this niche in the real estate market. No firm evidence is found that residential development
is attracted to the amenities that flow from either large-lot zoning or open space set asides.

Adelaja, A.O., and P.D. Gottlieb. 2009. The political economy of downzoning. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 38(2):1-10.

This study in local political science finds that a municipality is more likely to engage in substantial down-zoning when it retains a quantity of open space worth protecting, when the ratio of nonfarmers to farmers has increased, and when rising land values begin to make alternative techniques -- such as purchase of development rights -- less affordable. The study finds that down-zoning is used in combination with other local preservation techniques, reflecting an over-arching preference for rural preservation. At the same time, the use of downzoning is likely to increase as alternative techniques become more difficult to implement financially, and as downzoning becomes easier to implement politically.

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